2007 Part II: Plaza plans; caring home; magnificent harvest

Gwen Chamberlain

YATES?COUNTY — The second half of 2007 flew by in a flurry of primary and election campaigns amid summer lakeside events, a magnificent fall   harvest, football championship runs and a holiday season full of small-town warmth.

July

Lake Street Plaza owner Seancony LLC was expecting a letter of intent from Peebles Department store indicating plans to build a retail store at the plaza. The initial plans call for development of a CVS store at the corner of Lake and Brown Streets to make room in the plaza for the new store.

William Laffin and Michael Manahan announced plans to run for Milo Town positions. Laffin is circulating petitions for the supervisor’s post and Manahan is seeking one of the town board seats.

Nathan Johnson of Penn Yan achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.

Penn Yan Central School District officials say they want more time to consider the future of the Branchport Elementary School building.

Jessica Heeman, former finance manager of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance was charged with diverting more than $39,000 for her personal use. She was charged with 11 felony counts of grand larceny.

Penn Yan native Aaron Nissen had a hand in an ABC Network television show, American Inventor.

Keuka Comfort Care Home held an open house July 19 prior to opening the home for terminally ill patients.

New Zealander Scott Dixon claimed his third consecutive Cameron R. Argetsinger Cup winning the third IRL race at Watkins Glen International.

The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance (FLTA)  Board of Directors say they will take the necessary steps to keep the 100-year-old tourism organization healthy following the arrest of former finance manager Jessica Heeman and the resignation of the FLTA President Michael Rusinko.

Penn Yan Village officials named Gene Mitchell as the Village Police Chief. Mitchell had been serving as the provisional police chief.

Michael D’Abbracci was appointed to complete an unexpired Penn Yan Village trustee term, filling the seat vacated by Ronald Dailey who resigned in June.

The Dundee Central School Board of Education re-elected Joseph Capurso as president.

Dundee racer Quinn Sutherland captured his first BRP Can-Am 360 Late Model win at Black Rock Speedway.

The 168th Yates County Fair was held July 10 through 14 and featured an enduro race, live music, demolition derby, and a wide variety of 4-H events.

The Yates County Humane Society was robbed twice within a matter of days.

A huge crowd turned out for the second Thunder in the Hills Empire State Pullers Tractor Pull at the Yates County Fairgrounds on July 21.

Penn Yan hosted several fire departments and scores of antique apparatus for its annual muster and parade.

Dresden resident Richard Brow launched a campaign to have the village dissolved.

August

Lt. Col. Daniel Williams, a Penn Yan native based in Baghdad, urges Americans to not give up on the Iraqi people.

The Keuka Maid sank in about four feet of water Aug. 4 during a wedding reception in Hammondsport.

The mayors — David Wallace of Bath, Craig Prior of Dundee, Doug Marchionda Jr. of Penn Yan and Emery Cummings Jr. of Hammondsport — challenged one another in the Godfather race at Black Rock Speedway in Dundee. Cummings had the best finish, taking fourth overall.

National Fuel Gas Company officials announced construction on the Empire Connector Natural Gas Pipeline would begin in Yates County around Sept. 17. The company plans to complete 20 to 25 miles of the pipeline before the end of 2007.

Tony Stewart captured his fourth NASCAR Nextel Cup victory in the Centurion at the Glen race on Aug. 12.

The Penn Yan Main Street Bridge is among the eight in Yates County listed as structurally deficient. Three other bridges are listed as functionally obsolete by the New York State Department of Transportation, based on federal standards.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer signed a law permitting the operation of farm distilleries and permits on-site liquor tastings. The law limits annual production ot 35,000 gallons of liquor made primarily from farm and food products.

September

About 50 farmers met with U.S. Department of Agriculture representatives to voice their opinions about a proposal to close the Penn Yan Farm Service Agency office.

Brady Fultz captured the championship in the Sportsman division at Black Rock Speedway in Dundee.

The Dundee Scots Varsity football team opened their season with a 45-8 win over DeSales while the Penn Yan Mustangs struggled against Waterloo.

Two Penn Yan men — Jim Poel and Lee Sackett —  are planning to be at the controls of the reproduction of the Curtiss aircraft America as it flies over Keuka Lake during the Seaplane Homecoming.

Two local companies — CASP, LLC in Penn Yan and Dundee Foods in Dundee — are ready for expansion, but both companies must work closely with local officials to find solutions to waste water treatment issues.

As Yates County Legislators pondered the sale of county-owned property to Ecogen, a windfarm developer, residents of the town of Italy turned out to object to the possibility of turbines being located on the reforested land.

Silda Spitzer, wife of Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Paige Paterson, wife of Lt. Gov. David Paterson, visited Penn Yan to help celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Family Planning Center.

An attorney for one of four companies locked in negotiations with the state Attorney General’s office over a settlement to recover some of the costs to close the Yates County Landfill in the town of Torrey asked the village of Penn Yan to contribute $50,000 toward the settlement.

Representatives from Empire Pipeline, Otis Eastern Construction and others involved in the construction of the Empire Connector Pipeline met with property owners and other interested individuals before construction of the pipeline began Sept. 17. 

Dundee village officials learned the village will receive a $400,000 grant to help pay for sewage system improvements.

Two political newcomers, Timothy Dennis and Rick Willson, both seeking seats on the county legislature, received the most votes in the Republican Primary. They effectively unseated incumbent Patrick Flynn.

October

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) officials want Yates County to conduct additional testing beneath structures at the former Penn Yan Marine Manufacturing site on Waddell Avenue. The site is an important part of land that is the focus of a joint planning effort for waterfront revitalization.

Yates County Legislators agreed to launch a study into county employee salaries, something that hasn’t been done since 1996.

Liz Rhode won the A flight singles in the Finger Lakes West tennis tournament.

Penn Yan School officials learned the capital improvement project planned for Penn Yan Academy will take 30 months after it begins next summer.

Penn Yan’s Jordan Merritt picked up an overall win in the Cross Country meet against Canandaigua, Geneva, Marcus Whitman and DeSales.

The Dundee Scots varsity football team clinched the Finger Lakes Division title for the first time in 11 years with a 36-14 Homecoming victory over Red Jacket.

Hundreds of kids and adults attended Betty’s Local Harvest Celebration Oct. 13 at the Yates County Fairgrounds.

Penn Yan Village officials say the investigation into alleged financial improprieties within the Penn Yan Volunteer Fire Department continues with an external audit underway.

Assembly Republican Leader James Tedisco was the keynote speaker at the Yates County Republican dinner during the height of conflict with Gov. Eliot Spitzer over the governor’s proposal to issue drivers licenses to undocumented individuals.

The Dundee Scots varsity football team finished their season with a perfect 7-0 record after defeating York 21-12.

Penn Yan School District voters approved a proposed capital project to replace portions of the elementary school and academy roofs along with renovations to the academy auditorium.

Two kitchen barges that are part of the Keuka Maid Dinner Boat operation were beached on property owned by Robert Pfuntner near Sarrasin’s Restaurant. Pfuntner, who owns the Keuka Maid, also owns Sarrasin’s.

The Penn Yan Mustang Varsity Soccer team clinched their first league crown in many years with a  5-1 win over Marcus Whitman.

Morgan Basler finished second overall in the Cross Country League Championship meet as the Penn Yan Girls team finished second out of 23.

The Penn Yan Mustang Soccer team fell to top seed Dr. Freddie Thomas in their bid for a Section V title.

Officials in the town of Milo agreed to spend $2,000 to obtain a temporary restraining order to prevent Robert Pfuntner from moving the Keuka Maid to property he owns near Sarrasin’s Restaurant.

Benton Town officials signed an agreement with Empire State Wind Energy to develop a wind turbine farm in the town.

November

WWII Veterans Earl Fuller and Pete Chambers shared their experiences.

The Dundee Scots football season ended one win shy as they fell to Bolivar-Richburg 38-21. Brent Ayers was named the Class D Defensive Player of the Year. Ryan Ballard was named most valuable defensive back and Mike Tortolon earned the sportsmanship award.

Republican John Socha and Democrat Rich Stewart were locked in a 509-509 tie in the race for the Milo Town Supervisor seat following the Nov. 6 election. In other election results, Loren James received 560 votes for the Jerusalem Justice position that had been abolished earlier in the fall by special election. And residents in Potter finally got their beer sales controversy solved.

Yates County officials agreed to discuss landfill settlement options with four companies seeking a resolution to a four-year conflict with the State Attorney General’s office over landfill closure costs.

Yates County legislators approved a 4 percent lodging tax that will be applied to hotels, motels, inns and vacation rentals.

The Steuben County town of Urbana inked a new lease agreeement with Keuka Maid Dinner Boat owner Robert Pfuntner, keeping the boat at the south end of the lake for now.

Penn Yan Village officials are still waiting for for an audit of the Volunteer Fire Department’s records. Mayor Douglas Marchionda Jr. says the audit is not likely to be available as public information if it is connected to a criminal investigation.

The Yates County Chamber of Commerce honored HUBBA as the volunteers of the year at the chamber’s annual meeting.

Penn Yan Varsity bowler Nathan Johnson rolled a 299 game in a 772 series in the 2007-2008 season opener.

The public got its first look at the Keuka waterfront plan.

December

The Chronicle-Express launched its Web page, www.chronicle-express.com.

Liz Weeden was crowned Miss Penn Yan during activities at the annual StarShine in downtown Penn Yan.

Yates County Legislators approved a $38.4 million spending plan.

A last minute agreement with P&C Foods means Christmas for the Needy volunteers can continue seeking donations at the store even though the Salvation Army Bell Ringers are also found there. The new agreement gives Christmas for the Needy exclusive rights to seek donations at the store in the future.

John Nicolo and Constance Roeder, defendents in the alleged Eastman Kodak kickback scheme will stand trial in Rochester beginning in March 2008. They argued for a change in venue.

Former Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance finance manager Jessica Heeman was sentenced to five years probation, 28 days in Yates County Jail to be served on weekends, 60 days of electronic monitoring and 300 hours of community service after she pled guilty to taking $54,000 from the FLTA funds.

The Empire Connector Pipeline construction project shut down for the winter after completing about 19 miles of the pipeline.

Members of the Dresden Methodist Church were holding services under a new steeple erected in honor of Lillian Gelder, who inspired the addition with her futuristic visions she called “Holy Nudges.”

The New York State Public Service Commission wants to hear public comments about options for new telephone numbers in the 315 area code.

Bernyce Dailey, wife of former Penn Yan Village Trustee Ron Dailey, was charged with bribe receiving by a witness, attempted grand larceny in the third degree, compounding a crime and obstructing government justice.

A winter storm didn’t keep volunteers with Christmas for the Needy from distributing toys, food, clothing and more to 351 families, 546 children, and 1,167 individuals overall in the organization’s annual distribution.